MATTHEW BROOKES: LES DANSEURS
They are “les danseurs,” the professional male ballet dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. They are the epitome of strength, their bodies acting as machines of poetry with each and every point of their toes.
For his first book, photographer Matthew Brookes has turned his lens upon the professional male ballet dancers of Paris. Over the course of a year, he took these dancers out of their regular environment of rehearsals and performances and photographed them in a raw space in which they were allowed to explore the physicality of dance in its purest form. This series of portraits depicts the dancers’ responses upon being asked to interpret birds falling from the sky. The introduction is by Parisian prima ballerina Marie-Agnès Gillot, who has worked with these dancers over the years and watched them grow and develop. Brookes was born in England, grew up in South Africa, and is presently based between Paris and New York.
“I photographed them more like athletes than pure dancers,: Brookes said. “It wasn’t about so much the art of dance but more about the strength of dance. Their bodies are so indicative of bodies of strength and hard work.”
“The more I learned about it, the more I was fascinated and the more I became aware of how brilliant these ballet dancers are — what incredible athletes and artists they are.”
“They are from this world where everything has to be criticized and analyzed and it can always be better. But at the same time, they still have the heart to compliment each other. That was just really lovely to see.”
hardcover: 72 pages available on amazon